I’m writing you for baby advice! I’m due on November 26th (Thanksgiving baby!) with my third child and second daughter. My husband and I have two other children; Joanna Aisbet and Henry Fraser. We pretty much had our list of names narrowed down about four months ago, to either Catherine, Caroline, Rebecca, Grace, or Alice. But about a month ago I suddenly discovered Gaelic names, and I’m in love with them.
So now my number one choice is Niamh (pronounced “Neeve”), with Siobhan (“Shuh-von”) and Aoife (“Eef-uh”) close behind. My husband loves the name Niamh and is totally for it. So here are my issues.
First of all, neither my husband nor I have a drop of Irish blood in us. Is that totally weird to use an Irish name? My family certainly thinks so. Both of our mothers are campaigning for one of the original five, and neither my mother nor my mother in law, (or any of my other family for that matter) likes Niamh whatsoever. Both of our parents are very involved in our childrens lives, so this is a factor for me.
Secondly, of course, we live in Maryland, not Dublin. I know that if we choose Niamh, she will have to constantly be spelling and pronouncing her name for people. I had to do that all my life (My name is Nathasa, with no “h” after the “s”, and the first “h” silent), and it wasn’t much fun.
Third, I don’t know if it really works with Joanna and Henry. When I say it out loud, it sounds nice. “Joe-ann-uh, Hen-ree, and Neev”. But that’s just me. I really don’t know if it does. Also, our last name is one syllable: Kempt (Kem-t). It sounds fine with two syllabled Joanna and Henry, but I don’t know if it really flows with one syllabled Niamh.
It seems like there are way more strikes against Niamh than for it, and we should just go back to the other finalists we’d originally picked, but we keep coming back to Niamh. We both love it, and none of the other names seems just right.
But I’m worried, with so many things not going for the name. What do you think? I’d love people’s insight – I’m really stressing.
And if not Niamh, then any other suggestions? Also, we haven’t even begun to think of a middle name, and off the top of my head, nothing sounds good with Niamh (another strike, UGH!). We don’t want it to be an Irish name, but no American names really work, that I can think of.
Thank you so, so much.
I think that if you both love Niamh, and if you keep coming back to it despite being aware of the various issues, and if no other name seems right, that you should use it. And definitely it seems as if your parents shouldn't make a peep after using the name Nathasa in their own baby-naming days.
Would you like the name as much if it were spelled differently? Because you could spell it Neeve or Nieve or Neve and take that issue off your list. It's common for a name from one country to be spelled or pronounced differently when used in another country: we say Wilhelmina with a W sound even though in German it's a V sound; the name Kieran is Irish, but in Ireland it's Ciarán; and we use Owen instead of Eoghan. It's a matter of translating a name from one alphabet/language to another, so that it can be spelled and pronounced.
If you do use it, several of your other options would make nice middle names: Neeve Caroline Kempt, Nieve Rebecca Kempt, Neve Catherine Kempt.
Another option is to use Niamh as the middle name, eliminating pretty much ALL the problems---well, except the one where you like the name Niamh better than all the other options. I like it best with Rebecca: Rebecca Niamh Kempt. It's good with Caroline and Catherine, too, except that the N sounds blur together a little---not a dealbreaker, I wouldn't think, considering how infrequently it would cause a problem.
What does everyone else think? Use Niamh or not? Spell it the Irish way or the English way? First name or middle name, and what combination?